The history of the “California Missions” is taught in every 4th grade elementary class in the district I work. It might even be a requirement in all elementary schools in California.
The teacher left a three page history of the California missions to read. While they read the selections aloud in class, I explained some of the unfamiliar terminology like “adobe” and “blacksmithing”. They were then supposed to complete a six question worksheet for review.
If the 4th graders I had on Friday are any indication, I think it’s a wasted exercise because the comprehension skills of some 4th graders (I mean those in this particular class) seem to be lacking.
While a few seemed to be independently working to complete the worksheet there was a chorus of the rest who didn’t seem to have a clue.
Chorus: What are we supposed to do?
Reply: Read each question and find the answers to each question in the three pages we just read. (I thought it was obvious but you never know…)
Chorus: We don’t get it!
Reply: (exasperated…) “Ok. Let’s all do question #1 together”. I also have to coach them through numbers #2 through #4 but I stop helping on #5. There is NO reason they can’t find #5 on their own.
(click on images if you're blind as a bat like me...)
Chorus: “We can’t find the five things”
Reply: (again, exasperated…) Look on page 42, third paragraph.
Chorus: We can’t find the five things!
Reply: Ok, Let’s ALL re-read the last sentence, out loud, the third paragraph on page 42
As they got to the word blacksmithing, I held up my hand and started counting with fingers as they read each “skill” mentioned.
Chorus: So what are the five things?
Reply: (…standing there with my hand up, open palm out, five fingers spread).
Chorus: Can we color the pictures?
Reply: Sure, why not….